Monday, March 2, 2020

A Politically Correct Marine Commandant -- What's That About?


When I was a young man taking the oath as a U.S. Marine, I took my oath to fight all enemies both foreign and domestic, and to protect and defend our Constitution very much to heart. And since I joined the Marine Corps in the early 1970's in a time when I didn't agree with the Liberal Leftist protesters or their messages of hate for America they carried on their protest signs, I resigned myself to the understanding among us who made a vow, a solemn promise, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States: 

I might not agree with what they say, but I will fight for their right to say it -- because it's a Right that Americans have fought and died for.

That attitude, the ethos of fighting to protect America and our principles even when we do not agree with those asserting their Constitutional Rights including that of free speech in a negative way, is what I was told the Marine Corps was all about. And frankly, I loved it because while ready to fight all enemies both foreign and domestic -- being a Marine also meant protecting and defending the Rights of my bother and sister Americans. It went to the heart of why I was a Marine. It went to the heart of the Marine Corps at the time.

That was 1973. That was 47 years ago. Oh have times changed for my beloved Marine Corps! 


On February 17th, 2020, it was reported that the Marine Corps' 38th Commandant Gen. David Berger not only refuses to protect and defend the Constitutional Rights of his Marines -- but is in fact attacking the very Constitutional rights which the highly decorated Marine General has sworn an allegiance to uphold. He is doing so by attacking the right of free speech of every Marine in the Corps today.

Gen. David Berger has decided that a Marine's right of free speech to display the Confederate battle flag on his or her personal clothing, shirts, jackets, or on their personally owned vehicles as in the case of bumper stickers must stop and be removed. He has decided that the Confederate battle flag is not allowed on Marine Corps installations. His order bans Confederate battle flags, signs, and other Confederate symbols.

While this sounds as asinine as it comes, Gen. Berger has ordered the removal of all Confederate flags, bumper stickers and other similar items from Marine bases. Please understand, anyone can use any symbol to represent hate. The same goes for people lying about what represents hate. Anyone can say anything does, even when it doesn't.

A few years ago, there were a large number of asinine people on the Left who said the Gadsden Flag was a symbol of hate because it was being flown, along with many other historic American flags, at Tea Party rallies. The Gadsden flag was used at those rallies to remind Obama and the government that tyranny will not be tolerated by a free people.

The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a timber rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Below the rattlesnake are the words "DONT TREAD ON ME".

In 1775, Congress authorized the creation of a Continental Navy starting with four ships. To accompany the Continental Navy on their first mission, Congress also authorized the mustering of five companies of Continental Marines. During their first mission, some of the Marines took with them a yellow flag emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, and sporting the motto "DONT TREAD ON ME".

Today, as was the case over 200 years ago, the Gadsden flag does not represent hate. It is a historic symbol of America's fight against tyranny. It is a symbol of deviance against unjust rule. The Confederate flag does not represent hate no differently than the Gadsden flag does not represent hate. 

The Confederate flag was designed to represent deviance against a federal government that Americans in the South saw as overstepping their authority when governing. It was carried into battle by Americans in the Civil War in their fight against those they saw as forcing them into submission. Today, it is a cultural symbol of the American Rebel spirit of independence. It is also a flag representing Southern heritage in their fight against what they saw as tyranny. 

Even though Confederate flags, bumper stickers and similar items are incapable of causing harm and does not represent hate coming from any group, in fact simply goes to the pride of one's heritage as Southerners, Gen. Berger wants them removed from Marine Corps bases according to a new directive from the Commandant. And frankly, I can't help but wonder if he will bad the Gadsden flag as well -- even though that was the first flag carried by our Continental Marines.


Gen. Berger has told his commanders to begin implementing the order or develop plans to do so by February 28, 2020. The order was included in a memo that Gen. Berger sent out calling for more recruiting of women in combat positions and for more restrictions on Marines accused of domestic violence. He also wants to expand maternity leave for pregnant Marines. 

As for his order banning the Confederate battle flag on Marine Corps bases, he simply ordered "the removal of all Confederate-related paraphernalia from Marine Corps installations." But there has not been an incident to incite such an action. It's true. A Marine Corps spokesman said the order was "not generated by any one incident, and instead stemmed from a broader concern about the issue."

We should all understand that members of the military have been involved in racial incidents for years. While that doesn't excuse such things, to my knowledge Confederate paraphernalia has had been at the root of those incidents. In most case, it simply has to do with hate from both blacks and whites.

You think I'm oversimplifying things? When I was in the Marine Corps in the early 1970's and part of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Hancock, we were trained in riot control because the Sailors had race riots on other ships at the time. At the time, we were told that black Sailors were assaulting white Sailors for no reason other than skin color. Yes, so much for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of ignoring color of skin. 

Later when stationed in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendelton in 1976 and '77, I was on Instructor duty at Correctional Custody when I heard about 7 black Marines using screwdrivers to attack and stab 14 white Marines at an area Enlisted Club. That incident turned into a real circus. The white Marines who were in a conference room holding a meeting regarding local youth sports were accused of holding a Ku Klux Klan meeting. 

It was national news in no time at all. In fact newspapers started running stories about how the Ku Klux Klan had some sort of presence in Camp Pendelton and the Marine Corps in general. Even though those news stories were all lies designed to inflame the situation, soon enough America's military haters started holding protests at Camp Pendelton's Main Gate. 

Included in those protests were black political activists, I believe Rev. Jessie Jackson showed up, too ready to capitalize on the false reports about the Ku Klux Klan having a foothold in the Marine Corps. Right after the black political leaders showed up, believe it or not, a Ku Klux Klan leader showed up get his face in front of television cameras and on the news. To the credit of the Marine General in charge of Camp Pendelton at the time, both the Klan leader and the black activists were not allowed on base. 

As for the black Marines who were taken into custody and facing assault charges. At first they stuck to their story that the white Marines were holding a Klan meeting. Their story unraveled when one of the seven black Marines informed on the others during their Courts Martial trail. He made it known that they knew it wasn't a Ku Klux Klan meeting. The black Marines assaulted the white Marines simply because they were white. And with that, the protests and the stories of the Klan's fictional influence in the Corps died.

While the hoopla over the incident died off after the truth came out, there were other politics taking place in the Corps at the time. After a recruit died during training, it seemed there were Congressional investigators running around everywhere. From this, there was a will to please politicians by sacrificing some very good Marines. In those days, if a Marine Instructor had unsubstantiated allegations of maltreatment made against him, his career was over without hearing his side. All to please the political witch-hunters. 

Of course those incident weren't the first incidents that showed how truly political the Marine Corps was in practice. In fact, at the time, the mid-1970's, the Marine Corps had already tried to put women Marines in combat positions. That took place in 1977 to please the very Liberal Carter administration mandates to get more women in roles traditionally dominated by men. It failed. 

Yes, there is a reason that men fight in the trenches. Whether or not politicians want to admit it, combat readiness requires Marines to meet extraordinary physical requirements. Those requirements should not be lowered just so women will be able to meet them. If the Corps lowers it's standards just to allow women to serve in line companies, all to appease some sort of Liberal political agenda, then the Corps lessens itself and Marines will suffer for it. That's not to say that women Marines do not serve a vital function in the Corps. But pushing their presence in a line company as a result of political pressure when women, and not just one or two, cannot meet high physical standards should not take place. The Marine Corps's standards should not be lowers for political reasons. That's what we learned in 1977 when a few units tried it. But really, liberal politicians didn't care to hear that. 

Although that experiment failed miserably back in 1977, Gen. David Berger didn't enter the Marine Corps until 1981. Maybe that's why he wants to try it again. Of course, attempting to do so was in itself an effort by the Marine Corps to please politicians who wanted to use the military for their social experiments back then -- just as it would be today. 

I attribute Gen. Berger wanting to try it again to how little he knows about what was tried and why things failed in the Corps before he became a Marine. Of course if he does know why such a stupid notion as lowering Corps standards just to allow women to serve in line companies failed in its previous attempts to do so, and he still wants to do it, then that in itself shows Gen. Berger might be more politically inclined than I thought. 

In an era of political correctness, it's a shame to see such a decorated Marine as Gen. Berger bend to such social experiments and political dictates as suppressing one's Rights. When reading about the General, one can't help but see a Marine who has risen through the officer ranks with merit. So why he feels it's necessary to address such a free speech issue as Marines waving the Confederate battle flag can only be seen as political. 

It's sad really. Instead of being known as a Marine Commandant who stood up against the negative affects of political correctness on the Corps, he will go down as aligning himself with those who want to tear down Confederate monuments in public places and suppress one's rights of free speech. Yes, all under the guise of "doing what's right" when in fact it's just political correctness. 

I can't help but wonder where politically correct Gen. Berger will stop. Will he issue Dishonorable Discharges to decorated Marines who happen to have Confederate flag tattoos? What if a Marine is from the South, what about his or her pride of heritage? What about the Corps' heritage and tradition and all of the Southerners who have served in the Marine Corps?

And here's something else to think about. Will Gen. Berger attempt to push the Obama administration mandate of eliminating Christian worship from the military by banning Christian services on base? Because I enthusiastically support President Donald Trump, I can't help but wonder if Gen. Berger is prone to carrying out the guidelines of the Obama administration and not President Trump's administration? Since it was clear just a few years ago that the powers-to-be were attacking practicing Christians in the Corps, making them not welcome in our military, as well as attacking the Gadsden flag and the Confederate battle flag, will Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger attack a Marine's right to Christian worship?  

Both our freedom of speech and our ability to worship the religion of our choice are rights protected by our Bill of Rights, rights that Gen. David Berger is sworn to protect and defend -- not attack and limit -- but does that matter to Gen. Berger? Where will Gen. Berger stop in his attacks on a Marine's rights as an American Citizen in accordance to the Bill of Rights?

While I'm in no way disparaging his service to our country, I can't help but wonder about his decision making capability. Since Gen. Berger ordered the removal of all Confederate paraphernalia from all Marine Corps bases, I can't help but wonder if the Bill of Rights even matters to this very political Marine Commandant. Through his actions, his concern to protect and defend the rights of his Marines is questionable at best.

Tom Correa


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